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Anthropology×

Brunel University London, Full Time Masters Degrees in Anthropology

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Medical anthropology can be described as the study of cultural beliefs and behaviours associated with the origin, recognition and management of health and illness in different social and cultural groups. Read more
Medical anthropology can be described as the study of cultural beliefs and behaviours associated with the origin, recognition and management of health and illness in different social and cultural groups. Despite the name conventionally given to this area of study, medical anthropology is not simply concerned with practices of healing or systems of diagnosis and treatment such as biomedicine. It deals with the more informal systems of health care that exist worldwide (such as self-treatment, folk healers, shamans, traditional birth attendants, and alternative practitioners), as well as those associated with professional Western science-based medicine and caring practices. Additionally, medical anthropology is also concerned with issues which relate to different cultural views of the 'self' in health and disease, as well as shared beliefs, images and practices associated with perceptions of the human body and mind.

The Brunel MSc addresses the above issues in a lively and challenging way. It was the first taught master's degree dedicated to medical anthropology in Europe; and it is the largest MSc medical anthropology programme in the UK. We have the largest number of dedicated and internationally known medical anthropology staff in the country teaching the degree; and around 330 students have graduated with an MSc in medical anthropology from Brunel University. They are now working all over the world in a variety of settings.

Course Content: Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing modules were drawn from the following areas:

Compulsory Modules: Medical Anthropology in Clinical & Community Settings; Anthropology of Biomedicine & Psychiatry; Anthropology & Global Health; Ethnographic Research Methods 1 & 2.
Optional Modules: Kinship & New Directions in Anthropology; Anthropology of Disability & Difference; Anthropology of the Person; Anthropology of the Body.
Plus two unassessed reading modules: History and Theory of Social Anthropology; Issues in Social Anthropology

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY
Set up to honour the life and work of leading light in international medical anthropology Professor Cecil Helman (1944-2009) who taught on this course from 1990, The Cecil Helman Scholarship Fund offers between two and four students up to £1,000 to help them to complete field research for their dissertations. The scholarship will be awarded to MSc Medical Anthropology students who demonstrate excellent academic performance and the ability to undertake an original field research project.

Assessment is by essay, practical assignments (eg, analysis of a short field exercise), and a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words. This dissertation is based upon fieldwork undertaken by the candidate. There are no examinations.

Recent examples of dissertations by students taking this course include:
The Management of Alzheimer's disease.
The relationships between nurses and doctors in managing primary care.
Private experiences and public encounters: selfhood and personhood amidst the chaos of homelessness.

Here's what some of our former students have to say:

Birgit: “When I came back from a mission with Médecins sans Frontières in Mozambique, where I had worked on an HIV/AIDS programme, I searched for training opportunities and found out about Medical Anthropology at Brunel. I was thrilled – the subject matter described exactly what I had experienced in project work: divergent perceptions of sickness and health from a Western medical perspective and from a ‘traditional’ point of view.

The difficulties communicating essential health messages threatened the aim of prevention, and a great need was felt to better understand local ideas of mother-child health in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I was attracted by the perspective to learn how to conduct qualitative studies on health-related issues, and fascinated by the stance to comprehend ‘culture’ not as a normative and static condition, but as a constant process of negotiation and renewal.

I had the great opportunity to return to Mozambique for the dissertation fieldwork, studying traditional concepts of child nutrition and child health. I could pursue questions that were crucial in my past project work, and which were essential to the success of HIV/AIDS prevention. Writing transformed into something very unexpected, especially when working on the dissertation. It became an opportunity to think things through, to contextualize, discuss, explore and explain conclusions. Investigation and writing were two separate and still corresponding parts of an intense learning process. This process also taught me about ethical dilemmas in anthropological enquiry, about methodological constraints and limitations of inference, and it raised questions on what both tradition and human agency may mean.“

Julia: Whilst retaining our core values the NHS is being challenged to adopt new ways of commissioning and delivering quality services that are patient-focused and safe. So where does Medical Anthropology come into this change agenda?

It was not until I started my Masters that I really began to undertstand the concepts of culture, disease and illness, and how fundamental these are in influencing the NHS organisation. The course has challenged me to think differently and has transformed the way I plan and deliver patient-centred care, how I interact with colleagues and how I in turn educate professionals within our organisaiton.

I cannot recommend the course too highly, from the content of the modules to the excellent support of all the staff in the department. I have been provileged to have had this transformational learning opportunity.

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In this new MSc degree, the first of its kind anywhere in Europe, we tackle these and other issues from an anthropological perspective, looking at the social and cultural dimensions of human experience. Read more
In this new MSc degree, the first of its kind anywhere in Europe, we tackle these and other issues from an anthropological perspective, looking at the social and cultural dimensions of human experience. By engaging with debates on these important topics and through the examination of world ethnography (including the UK), participants will learn about selfhood, emotion, madness and identity in cultural context.

This MSc aims to give candidates a solid grounding in key topics in psychological and psychiatric anthropology. Through detailed consideration of cases from Britain and around the world, we explore the ways in which person, emotion, and subjectivity are shaped through cultural practices. Candidates from backgrounds in health, therapy, social work and psychology will be able to challenge the categories and assumptions inherent in standard approaches to psychological and behavioural issues.

Course content: Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing modules were drawn fro the following areas:

Compulsory Modules: Themes in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology ; Ethnographic Research Methods Parts 1 and 2
Optional Modules: Anthropology of Education & Learning; Anthropology of Childhood and Youth; Medical Anthropology in Clinical & Community Settings; Anthropology of Biomedicine and Psychiatry, Anthropology & Global Health; Kinship and New Directions in Anthropology; Anthropology of the Body ; Anthropology of the Person
Anthropology of Disability and Difference
Plus two unassessed reading modules: History and Theory of Social Anthropology; Issues in Social Anthropology .

Assessment is by essay, practical assignment (eg analysis of a short field exercise), and a final 15,000 word dissertation.

Here is what some of our former students have to say:

Eileen: "When I started the MSc in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology I did not realize that I was embarking on a course that was to alter my life. My background was in Nursing (General and Psychiatry-specializing in Adolescent Mental Health) and I had just completed a first degree in Anthropology in Ireland. All of these experiences, coupled with travelling as much as I could, had left me with a feeling that somehow there was something missing in my life - both personal and academic. Though my path is still somewhat uncertain, the experience of doing the MSc has given a meaning and a depth to my life that I would not have thought possible.

I commuted every week from Dublin for lectures on Wednesday and Thursday in Brunel while continuing to work fulltime as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Though this was tiring it was the highlight of my week. The academic focus on emotion, identity, and psychological and psychiatric processes brought together my previous study and experience while encouraging me to think in new ways. This is essential in my area of work if one is to respond to the changing needs of families attending the clinic.

My thesis project was 'Personal, Social and Sexual identity amongst and between women in Cairo'. This was greatly supported by my supervisor Dr Andrew Beatty. Despite, as yet, speaking little Arabic, I was welcomed into mosques, hammams, and family homes in Cairo. I was privileged to be included in many intimate conversations and personal scenes.

Though at present I remain in my previous line of work, the experience of the MSc, fieldwork in Cairo, beginning Arabic and spending last summer in a refugee camp in Palestine working with children who are experiencing trauma every day of their lives, has allowed me to see the endless possibilities that open up from taking such a course. (See pictures below)

All of this would not have been possible without the absolute dedication and amazing knowledge and experience of the academic staff. That they were always available to answer questions and talk over ideas, no matter how small we felt they were, meant a lot. It encouraged one to pursue a connection with the world of anthropology. Whether that is just by ongoing reading, a different way of thinking and being in the world, or as I plan, to undertake a PhD or by travelling as I did to Palestine and experiencing the privilege of sharing a way of life and forming life long connections from this, the path of anthropology and the doors and possibilities are endless. They add so much to one’s daily life that I would have to say that taking part in the MSc in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology is the best move I have ever made."

Fatima: "I chose this Masters because of its structure – the range of modules and the opportunity to conduct fieldwork abroad impressed me. The fieldwork experience has challenged me to reflect and question my approach to the subject. Furthermore, the main advantages of my MSc studies are the solid research skills, as well as the prestige of doing a Master's in one of the best UK Universities.

The academic staff in the Department are regarded as world leaders in their field. They presented anthropology in a way which was both inspiring and thought provoking. Even the most eminent professors will take the time to discuss research with postgraduates and the help is invaluable.

I also found the lunch time seminars particularly beneficial as they are a great way to meet other postgraduate students and to exchange experiences. I’d advise prospective students to embrace the 'whole' experience as you only get out of it what you put in and if you’re prepared to get involved, the MSc in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology is brilliant!

My postgraduate degree at Brunel has caught employers' interest and, in terms of a career, the opportunities are endless. I am currently working in Mental Health in Karachi and hope to secure enough funding for a PhD."

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This MRes is a taught postgraduate degree that provides high quality training in anthropology and anthropological research. Read more
This MRes is a taught postgraduate degree that provides high quality training in anthropology and anthropological research. The degree is of particular relevance for those who wish to use such training as a foundation for PhD study or who are keen to enhance their careers through the acquisition of advanced knowledge and research skills. Accordingly, the MRes can be completed as a qualification in itself, or as the first stage in a four-year PhD programme. For students with no previous anthropological training, it can also act as a conversion course to anthropology.

An MRes is now the ESRC’s preferred route for proceeding to doctoral study. The MRes in Social Anthropology meets the ESRC requirements and is recognised for training for advanced research in anthropology. The MRes/MPhil/PhD programme marries the best aspects of the traditional apprenticeship system of anthropology - students work with a leading anthropologist in their geographical area of interest and undertake a formal training programme concerned with developing broader anthropological skills in the context of social science as a whole. Our students have been or are being funded by the British Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, the World Health Organization, national and local governments as well as NGOs.

A unique feature of the MRes programme is that students can design, in collaboration with academic staff, Guided Study Modules to focus on their particular areas of research interest

Course content: Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing modules were drawn fro the following areas:

Compulsory Modules: Graduate Research Skills & Professional Development; Ethnographic Research Methods Parts 1 and 2.
Optional Modules: Themes in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology ; Anthropology of Education & Learning; Anthropology of Childhood and Youth; Medical Anthropology in Clinical & Community Settings; Anthropology of Biomedicine and Psychiatry; Anthropology & Global Health; Kinship and New Directions in Anthropology; Anthropology of the Body ; Anthropology of the Person; Anthropology of Disability and Difference.
Plus two unassessed reading modules: History and Theory of Social Anthropology; Issues in Social Anthropology .

Assessment is by essay, practical assignment (eg analysis of a short field exercise), and a final 15,000 word dissertation.

Careers:
The MRes is specifically designed for students wishing to proceed to doctoral study in anthropology. However, the broad range of research strategies taught also makes it an excellent basis for professional development and research in other areas of social science.

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This MSc was the first degree of its kind in the world when it was established and is still unique in its thorough-going anthropological perspective on what it is to be a child or to be young. Read more
This MSc was the first degree of its kind in the world when it was established and is still unique in its thorough-going anthropological perspective on what it is to be a child or to be young. Its key organising principle is that understanding children requires the study of how their relations with others - peers, older and younger children, parents, teachers and other adults - inform their practices, identities and world views.

Through an examination of ethnographic cases from the around the world (including the UK), participants will learn about the different ways in which childhood and youth are understood and conceptualised, along with the different educational forms and processes through which cultural knowledge is transmitted and acquired, and how culture impacts upon these processes.

Course content: Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing modules were drawn from the following areas:
Compulsory Modules: Anthropology of Childhood and Youth; Anthropology of Education & Learning; Ethnographic Research Methods Parts 1 and 2 .
Optional Modules: Kinship and New Directions in Anthropology; Anthropology of the Body ; Anthropology of the Person
Anthropology of Disability and Difference
Plus two unassessed reading modules: History and Theory of Social Anthropology; Issues in Social Anthropology .
It may also be possible to choose from these modules offered by the School of Sport & Education and the School of Health Sciences & Social Care: Foundation Disciplines of Education* Literature Policy and Analysis* International Development, Children and Youth* Global Agendas on Young People, Rights and Participation* Applied Learning for Children, Youth and International Development* (* these modules will be taught on different days from the normal attendance days.)

Assessment is by essay, practical assignments (eg, analysis of a short field exercise), and a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words. This dissertation is based upon fieldwork undertaken by the candidate. There are no examinations.

The specific topics and/or research problems discussed in the dissertation are a function of the student’s particular research interest in the domain of the anthropology of children, child development and youth, and the data generated by the student’s own fieldwork.

Recent examples of dissertations by students:
The language of learning: how children become learners
ESL children and their friendships
A Greek community school in a London district: ethnic socialisation among third generation children
Youth marginalisation, affiliation and livelihoods in Sierra Leone

Careers:
Candidates will acquire analytical and research skills that can be used in a wide range of careers. In addition to providing a firm grounding for doctoral research on childhood and youth, graduates will find that the degree enhances professional development in fields such as teaching, social work, counselling, educational and child psychology, health-visiting, nursing and midwifery, paediatric specialisms, non-governmental agencies and international development. Every year, some of our graduates also go on to do further research for a PhD in child-focused anthropology as members of the Centre for Child-Focused Anthropological Research (C-FAR).

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This degree is unique in its anthropological perspective in studying children and childhood. Its key organising principle is that children are nor just passive recipients of the world in which they live, but actively help to constitute that world, as well as being constituted by it. Read more
This degree is unique in its anthropological perspective in studying children and childhood. Its key organising principle is that children are nor just passive recipients of the world in which they live, but actively help to constitute that world, as well as being constituted by it. The course includes taught modules in the social anthropology of childhood and child development, along with research methods modules leading to a dissertation. Modules reflect cover topics such as: the child in kinship; the anthropology of childhood; children in health and sickness; and cultural processes of learning.

For more information, see http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/pg.

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This programme is unique within the UK in catering specifically for those working, or interested in working, in the field of children, youth and international development. Read more
This programme is unique within the UK in catering specifically for those working, or interested in working, in the field of children, youth and international development. The course will equip you with the conceptual understanding and breadth of empirical knowledge that will enable you to critically evaluate policy and practice in the area of children, youth and development and give you the skills necessary to design and undertake research relating to children, youth and development.
It aims to To equip students with:
The conceptual understanding and breadth of empirical knowledge that will enable them to critically evaluate research, policy and practice in the area of children, youth and development.
An understanding of differing disciplinary perspectives on childhood and youth, and their theoretical and empirical contributions.
The skills necessary to design and undertake research relating to children, youth and international development.
Methodological, cognitive and transferable skills and substantive knowledge that will prepare them for employment, further study and civic engagement.
SPECIAL FEATURES:
The programme is also innovative in its interdisciplinarity. Unlike other childhood studies programmes, which are almost exclusively located in a single department and taught from a single disciplinary perspective, the proposed programme allows you to select options modules that draw upon expertise and modules from a range of disciplinary traditions.

The programme is based in the School of Health Sciences and Social Care, with the core modules delivered primarily, but not exclusively, by members of the Human Geography Research Centre within that School. This Research Centre specialises in geographies of children and young people.

However, the MA programme also benefits from expertise within Brunel's Interdisciplinary Centre for Child and Youth Focused Research. This represents a concentration of over thirty academic staff from across the University whose research interests lie in the broad field of children and youth. Many of the Centre’s members conduct research with young people in the global South, from a range of disciplinary perspectives including geography, sociology, anthropology, psychology, health sciences, social work and sport sciences.

In both core and specialist option modules, students will be explicitly exposed to innovative high profile research that relates to the fields of children, youth and international development.

The programme combines four core taught modules (accounting for 90 credits) with 30 credits worth of options. The core modules focus on key issues relating to international development, children and youth, and in particular the rights and participation of young people. They also prepare students in research design and practice, in preparation for the dissertation. The option modules offer a unique opportunity to appreciate in depth how children and youth-related issues are addressed from alternative disciplinary perspectives.

The programme is intended to relate to the needs of organisations working in the field of children, youth and international development. Students will have the opportunity, should they wish, to undertake a sustained project with an external organisation as part of a placement module. This may be an organisation with which they already have links, such as a current of former employer. They may also choose to apply their 60 credit dissertation to the needs of an identified community or organisation.

A range of teaching and learning techniques are employed on the programme, most of which stress the active involvement of students in discussion and debate. The programme also emphasises reflective, independent learning, both by individuals and groups, and students are well supported to achieve this through, for instance, tutorials, workshops and seminar discussions.

Staff place a strong emphasis on tutorial support and regular tutorials are integrated into the programme. Tutorials focus on the development of study skills (critical reading and writing), careers support, exam and assignment preparation, feedback on assessments and help in developing research proposals.

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